Red, For laying down

2015 Ch. les Carmes Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan

2015 Ch. les Carmes Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan

Red | For laying down | Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion | Code:  37951 | 2015 | France > Bordeaux > Pessac-Leognan | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium Bodied, Dry | 14.0 % alcohol

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New To BBX

Bottle 6 x 75cl 1cs

£490.00
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Scores and Reviews

BBR

17.5/20

WA

92-94/100

DECANTER

95/100

SUCKLING

96-97/100

WA - The 2015 Les Carmes Haut Brion is a blend of 30% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon that was cropped at 25 hl/ha between 24 September and 11 October. This vintage includes around 45% whole cluster fruit and it went through a four-week ferment with just one pump-over and one pigeage, using a bladder inside the tank to submerge the cap (like an infusion tea). It is aged 10% in clay amphora and 90% in oak barrels, which includes 20% in Stockinger barrels, around 60% new wood. The alcohol degree is 14% and a pH of 3.7. "This vintage is very sensual because of the softness of tannin. I think it is very typical of Pessac," ex-Chapoutier winemaker Guillaume Pouthier told me. The nascent wine is inky purple in color. The nose is very closed and demands a lot of coaxing from the glass, reluctantly giving up black cherries, cassis and iodine scents. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin, extremely pure, hints of black olive and Japanese nori infusing the black fruit. It has a very fine structure with good grip on the finish. The Cabernet Franc comes through strongly here, defining the start and finish and in some ways, it needs the Merlot to become more expressive to "fill in the gaps." Of course, that is precisely what élevage is for. This is an intriguing Pessac-Léognan that reminds me of Pomerol (Lafleur perhaps?). Difficult to judge now, I look forward to retasting this once in bottle, because it may well deserve a higher score.
Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate #224 - April 2016

DECANTER - The highest proportion of Cabernet Franc on the Left Bank at 45%, with just over 1ha of ungrafted vines more than 80 years old. Additional 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. Light touch and great concentration for the future.

There’s body, movement and energy to the dark cassis fruit, 70% aged in new oak, 30% in clay amphora. Stéphane Derenoncourt oversees an increasing move to biodynamic farming. One of the best ever wines produced here; an estate to watch. 3.7pH, 14.1%abv.
Drink: 2023-2038
Jane Anson - decanter.com - April 2016

SUCKLING - This shows incredible texture with the finest velvet mouthfeel. Super character of chocolate, walnut and orange peel. Great length and subtlety. Lots of whole berry fermentation and maceration gives the wine grace and fruit. Then it kicks in. Great power and structure at the end. Very unique.
James Suckling - jamessuckling.com - Apr 2016

The Producer

Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion

Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion

A little-known neighbour of châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion in the Pessac-Léognan region of Bordeaux, Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a jewel of a property, positioned on the same bank of gravel (graves) as its more famous namesakes.

The name derives from the friars, known as ";Les Carmes"; who owned the property between the 16th and 18th century.

The vineyards are planted with an unusually small quantity of Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), the lion's share going to Merlot (50%) and Cabernet Franc (40%), this is reflected in the style of the wine which is rich in aromatics and has incredible finesse.

The wine spends 18 months in oak barrels, one third of which are new each vintage.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

The Region

Pessac-Leognan

Pessac-Leognan

In 1986 a new communal district was created within Graves, in Bordeaux,  based on the districts of Pessac and Léognan, the first of which lies within the suburbs of the city. Essentially this came about through pressure from Pessac-Léognan vignerons, who wished to disassociate themselves from growers with predominately sandy soils further south in Graves.

Pessac-Léognan has the best soils of the region, very similar to those of the Médoc, although the depth of gravel is more variable, and contains all the classed growths of the region. Some of its great names, including Ch. Haut-Brion, even sit serenely and resolutely in Bordeaux's southern urban sprawl.

The climate is milder than to the north of the city and the harvest can occur up to two weeks earlier. This gives the best wines a heady, rich and almost savoury character, laced with notes of tobacco, spice and leather. Further south, the soil is sandier with more clay, and the wines are lighter, fruity and suitable for earlier drinking.

Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Haut-Brion, Ch. la Mission Haut-Brion, Ch. Pape Clément, Ch Haut-Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier, Ch. Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Ch. Carmes Haut-Brion, Ch. La Garde, Villa Bel-Air.

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